S.Africa urges speed in probe of Rwandan ex-spy’s death
South Africa's government Thursday ordered investigators to speed up a probe into the killing of Rwanda's former intelligence chief, who was found strangled in a Johannesburg hotel on January 1.
With police yet to make any arrests nine days after the slaying of Patrick Karegeya, the justice and security ministers “called upon the responsible officials to expedite the investigation”.
The 53-year-old was discovered slumped on a bed by staff at the plush Michelangelo Towers hotel in Johannesburg’s upmarket suburb of Sandton on January 1.
A bloodied curtain cord and towel were found in a safe in Karegeya’s room, and there have been accusations that Rwandan President Paul Kagame ordered his killing.
Initial investigations “indicate that there were signs of a scuffle”, said the ministers in a statement that marked the South Africa’s first reaction to the killing of Karegeya on its soil.
Rwanda has vehemently denied involvement in the attack.
Karegeya was once head of Rwanda’s external intelligence service and a close Kagame ally, but he later fell out of favour.
In 2007 he fled into exile in South Africa, where he became a fierce critic, describing Kagame as a dictator and alleging he had first-hand knowledge of the state killing of Rwandan dissidents abroad.
Another prominent Rwandan dissident in South Africa, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, survived two assassination attempts in June 2010.
Condemning the incident “in the strongest terms”, the ministers said the government “would ensure that no stone is left unturned in tracking and bringing to justice those involved in this criminal act.”
Such incidents “must have the requisite consequences to deter future would-be wrong-doers and should not be tolerated under any circumstances,” they said.
South Africa’s specialist police unit the Hawks said Thursday no arrests had been made.
“We haven’t arrested anyone. Our team working on this matter will not going to rest until the culprits are brought to book,” Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko told AFP.
He denied knowledge of media reports that three Rwandans have been questioned in neighbouring Mozambique in connection with Karegeya’s death.
On Thursday a group of around 50 people staged a protest outside the Rwandan embassy in Pretoria carrying portraits of Kagame with the caption “war criminal”.
They also carried a makeshift coffin draped with a white sheet on which was inscribed “Kagame’s victims”.